Dreaming : Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams
Human Sciences Press, Inc., New York City

Volume 3, Number 4, December 1993


Prevalence of Nightmares Among Patients with Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease

James M. Wood, Richard R. Bootzin, Stuart F. Quan,
and Mary E. Klink
Page 231

Mood Regulation, Dreaming and Nightmares: Evaluation of a Desensitization Function for REM Sleep
Michael L. Perlis and Tore A. Nielsen
Page 243

The Function of Dreams in Adaptation to Stress Over Time
Donald W. Stewart and David Koulack
Page 259

Are the Effects of Dream Interpretation on Session Quality, Insight, and Emotions Due to the Dream Itself, to Projection, or to the Interpretation Process?
Clara E. Hill, Roberta Diemer, Shirley Hess, Ann Hillyer, and Robyn Seeman
Page 269
Available online

Preconscious Mental Activity and Scientific Problem-Solving: A Critique of the Kekulé Dream Controversy
Franz Strunz
Page 281

Wood, James M.; Bootzin, Richard R.; Quan, Stuart F.; Klink, Mary E.
Prevalence of nightmares among patients with asthma and chronic obstructive airways disease.
Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 3(4) 231-241, Dec 1993.


Clinical reports and some research have suggested an association between asthma and nightmares. Forty-eight patients with obstructive airways disease (OAD), including 21 with and 27 without asthma, were compared with 149 sex- and age-matched controls without respiratory disease. OAD patients with asthma reported approximately three times as many nightmares as controls or OAD patients without asthma (p < .01). OAD patients, whether with or without asthma, were nearly 3 times more likely than controls to report that their nightmares were a "problem" (p = .001). It is concluded that nightmares are more frequent among asthmatics than among either normal individuals of the same age and gender or OAD patients without asthma. Subsidiary findings indicated that OAD patients may exhibit elevated levels of psychological distress and anxiety, and that nightmare frequency declines with age.

Key Words: nightmares; asthma; obstructive airway disease.


Perlis, Michael L.; Nielsen, Tore A.
Mood regulation, dreaming and nightmares: Evaluation of a desensitization function for REM sleep.
Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 3(4) 243-257, Dec 1993.


This paper is an evaluation of the hypothesis that REM sleep and dreaming serve a mood regulatory function, in particular, that they desensitize affect. There is presently experimental evidence that daytime mood influences REM sleep and dreaming and that the latter, in turn, influence daytime mood. It is suggested that these interrelationships may be better understood using a modified behavioral perspective on dreaming. Specifically, it is proposed that anxious dream imagery may be desensitized during REM sleep by a process that is analogous to systematic desensitization therapy. This analogy attributes functional roles to both psychological (dreaming) and physiological (atonia) aspects of REM sleep. Abnormal REM sleep phenomena such as narcolepsy, REM sleep behavior disorder, and nightmares are evaluated from the behavioral-desensitization point of view, and the implications for future research on REM sleep, dreaming, and waking mood are discussed.

Key Words: REM sleep; dreaming; mood regulation; desensitization; nightmare; muscle atonia; sleep function; dream function; emotion.


Stewart, Donald W.; Koulack, David.
The function of dreams in adaptation to stress over time.
Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 3(4) 259-268, Dec 1993.


The function of dreams in adaptation to stress over time was investigated. Male subjects (N = 93) were randomly administered either an easy or difficult version of a sham intellectual aptitude test as a differential stress manipulation. Subjects' reports of presleep and morning mood, dream pleasantness, and dream content were then examined over a six-day period following administration of the stressor. We hypothesized that the pattern of changes observed in mood and dream experience would correspond with the oscillation between mastery and avoidance dreams predicted by the disruption-avoidance-adaptation model of dream function. Results indicated that exposure to the high stress situation was associated with an apparent oscillation in dream pleasantness and concomitant affect over time. Implications for the model are discussed.

Key Words: dreams; stress; adaptation.


Hill, Clara E.; Diemer, Roberta; Hess, Shirley; Hillyer, Ann; Seeman, Robyn.
Are the effects of dream interpretation on session quality, insight, and emotions due to the dream itself, to projection, or to the interpretation process?
Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 3(4) 269-280, Dec 1993.


We tested whether interpreting one's own dream was more effective in terms of subject-rated session quality (Depth), insight, and positive and negative emotionality than either interpreting another person's dream as if it were one's own or interpreting a recent event of one's own. Sixty undergraduate volunteers participated, 20 in each of the three conditions. Results indicated that interpreting one's own dream led to greater depth and insight than interpreting another person's dream or interpreting one's own event. Thus, the effects of dream interpretation cannot be attributed solely to projection or to the interpretation process. Rather, dreams seem to provide a stimulus that helps subjects gain self-understanding.

Key Words: dream; dream interpretation; insight.

Available online

Strunz, Franz.
Preconscious mental activity and scientific problem-solving: A critique of the Kekulé dream controversy.
Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 3(4) 281-294, Dec 1993.


Kekulé's dreams are often cited as the paradigm of how scientific discoveries take shape in dreams. However, the chemist's dream accounts of 1890 have been seriously questioned by recent authors arguing that he did not have the dreams at all, that they arose out of egoistic needs and that dreams were not the primary cause of his scientific achievements. This paper tries first to relate the story of the Kekulé dream controversy in the recent chemical literature, and second, to present a detailed refutation of two positivistically-biased anti-Kekulists. In a final part, the author strongly argues for the view that creative achievements are instigated by dreams or forms of dreaming as the regular case. Spontaneous forms of consciousness try out in a groping manner possible solutions and present them to waking consciousness in sudden Eurekas. Positivists hating dreams as the source of scientific discoveries adhere to an outdated ideal of science and ignore their own creative wellsprings.

Key Words: Kekulé; dreams; chemistry; controversy; creativity.


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